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#125843 07/20/08 04:00 PM
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I thought I would share my experience with everyone regarding the siphon pipe system. After many hours researching the subject for about a year, I decided I liked the idea of a siphon system. The advantages that I liked are as follows: being able to draw the lake down to any depth at will, being able to remove deeper anoxic water instead of surface water, the peace of mind knowing there are no holes through the dam and therefore less chance of future problems/leaks, the cost efficiency vs. many of the other systems. While we were placing the the pipe my contractor and good friend stated he had built hundreds of ponds over the years and this is the first siphon pipe system he had placed. It impressed him so much that he will be placing one in his own future pond in the near future.
Once I figured out which system to use, I spent a lot of time trying to understand the parts of the system and how it all comes together. Instead of trying to get the pieces myself, I ordered the 8" kit from Keith Johnson at Pond Dam Piping. Keith was very helpful and answered all the questions I had. I ordered the 20' straight sections from a local pipe supplier. The cost was around $800 for the kit (including the butterfly valve) and around $900 for the straight pipe.
Selecting the size of the pipe will vary with factors such as location, amount of rainfall, watershed drainage, etc. Many locations might need 12" pipe while others may only need 6" pipe. My pond will be about 3 surface acres, up to 30 foot deep in central Arkansas. The watershed drainage is around 50 acres and there are several natural springs under the pond that should keep it at normal level once the pond fills up.
On to the pictures.

These are the parts to the butterfly valve. Eight big bolts hold this thing together. It is very heavy.


This is what it looks like put together in the closed position.


This is what it looks like in the open position.


This is the trash guard that goes on the inlet side of the pipe.


After picking the right spot for the pipe and using a laser to figure out how deep to place the horizontal section of pipe, we began digging a 3 foot trench where the pipe would be placed.


We were fortunate because at a 17' vertical drop from normal water level, it was at the water's edge. There's already 10 feet of water in the deepest part and I was worried that we would have to pump some of the water out to place the pipe. I used 17' to give some room for error because you can't pull water over 20' vertically with a siphon. The inlet part was put together before placing.


The inlet side in place ready for some cover dirt and the next piece. It's very easy to slide these pieces together going downhill, but on the backslope, the trackhoe was used to force the pipe sections together.


After the horizontal section was in place, all that you could see was the vent pipe sticking out of the dirt. To me, this was the most important part because the horizontal section determines the normal water level. Apparently there was some confusion about pipe vs. emergency spillway levels. When we shot the grade with the laser, the emergency spillway was 3' below the crest of the dam and this was where the normal water level was supposed to be. After talking with my contractor and using some diagrams, he finally understood that the pipe would control the normal water level and the e-spillway was for floods. We ended up having the e-spillway 10" below the crest of the dam (actually there are 2 emergency spillways, one on either side of the dam), and the horizontal pipe 10" below the e-spillway for a total of 20" below the crest of the dam. I know the NRCS wants 2' of freeboard but the dirtwork was through and there won't be large amounts of water coming through the pond. Everything should be alright.


The backslope of the dam. Notice the butterfly valve towards the end followed by a 45 degree angle.


The finalized vent pipe. A t-post was used to anchor the pipe in case someone bumps into it. It's used to take the torque and stress off of the horizontal section. The flag behind the vent pipe marks the water line.


All that remains on the backslope is the valve section.


I tried backing up to give some perspective of the inlet side vs. the outlet side.



That's all for now. I hope this has helped anyone who had questions about the siphon pipe system.


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Great post! Can't wait to see it in action.




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It really is a good post. Very informative.
Call me pessimistic, but 10" of freeboard makes me nervous. It's not always just the amount of inflow/outflow that should be anticipated. The killer is wind. Combine water flow at the Emergency Spillway with 30 - 40 mph winds blowing waves across the face of the dam....well, you know.

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Brettski,
I know. I'm a little uneasy too. But I planned to have the water level at a precise point. Things like the boat ramp and beach need a certain amount of water. My contractor made a mistake. Fortunately, it's never windy around here most of the year and the winds usually come with fronts from the north. Because the dam is on the north side, it should be protected from those northerly winds.


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The silver lining to the freeboard thing is that adding to the height of the dam is alot easier than re-building, hands down. You can monitor the activity over the course of a couple of blows and see how things go.
-
That is still one massive dam project; looks awesome, man.

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That really is a good bit of information in pictures.

You made the whole job look easy,

Thanks for the time and pictures.

otto

otto #126131 07/22/08 06:28 PM
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I thought it would help some people who needed information about the siphon pipe system. I'm just glad it's done!


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That vent setup is interesting. I didn't know you could use it to draw down the pond. I will have to consider that on my next pond.The only two siphon systems I have ever seen just have a hole in the horizontal pipe.

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Can someone please explain to me how the siphon system will start automatically as the water level goes over a certain height? I understand the concept of the siphon, but I'm having a hard time understanding how it will start to siphon automatically instead of simply draining through the backside pipe. The automatic prime has me confused. :-)


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I always wrestle with the siphon thing, but I believe it works like this:
The water seeks it's own level and simply drains thru the siphon when it reaches the horizontal pipe that runs thru the dam. As it continues to rise and completely fills that same horizontal pipe, the weight of the exiting water (as it runs downhill out of the exit pipe behind the dam) begins the siphoning effect.
-
Did I fail the exam?

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 Originally Posted By: TwoLakes
Can someone please explain to me how the siphon system will start automatically as the water level goes over a certain height? I understand the concept of the siphon, but I'm having a hard time understanding how it will start to siphon automatically instead of simply draining through the backside pipe. The automatic prime has me confused. :-)


http://www.pondboss.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=111882&fpart=2




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Brettski is correct. For a siphon you must have a greater amount of water going downhill by gravity than a greater amount of water coming uphill and you must have a closed system (i.e. no air). The vent is a siphon stop (if the vent was not there the pond would drain down to the level of the inlet until air was introduced). Once the pipe fills up (and it doesn't have to fill all the way, I'm guessing only 1/2 from what I've been told) the siphon kicks in draining the pond. Once the water level comes back down to just below the vent pipe, air is introduced and the siphon stops.


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Thanks for the answers. I have a much better understanding of the inner workings now. I think we'll look into adding a siphon on our large pond to keep normal runoff from going over the spillways.


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To Peter I received your note and will make the same post. On Northern ponds siphon pipe are set four foot below water level and the main purpose is to drain the pond if needed not to maintain water level. Also minimum two 4 foot pvc weep collars backfilled with mason sand to trap clay wash.

If your main purpose of installig one is to drain the pond you can always use and above ground set up when needed.

good luck


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Who was the first to discover out this siphon thing, And when?

otto #126456 07/25/08 07:13 AM
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 Originally Posted By: otto
Who was the first to discover out this siphon thing, And when?

From experiencefestival.com
 Quote:
It is tolerably certain that Ctesibius was the discoverer of the principle of the siphon. His student, Hero of Alexandria, wrote extensively about siphons in the treatise, Pneumatica. Even before the Greeks, Egyptian reliefs from 1500 B.C. depict siphons used to extract liquids from large storage jars.

and from Wikipedia, if you were wondering who Ctesibius was
 Quote:
Ctesibius or Ktesibios or Tesibius (Greek Κτησίβιος) (fl. 285–222 BC) was a Greek or Egyptian inventor and mathematician in Alexandria, Ptolemaic Egypt. He wrote the first treatises on the science of compressed air and its uses in pumps (and even a cannon). This, in combination with his work on the elasticity of air On pneumatics, earned him the title of "father of pneumatics." None of his written work has survived, including his Memorabilia, a compilation of his research that was cited by Athenaeus.

Aren't you glad you asked?


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HA HA....ol’ Theo got caught pullin’ our leg again. Don’t fall for his hijinx, Otto.


Last edited by Brettski; 09/23/11 03:39 PM. Reason: too dopey
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Slow day in the steel business, eh?


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not really
been busy inventing the wheel

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OK Otto, you just had to ask, didn't you? Be careful what you wish for. Don't ever ask anything about organic fertilizer.


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

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BRETTSKI

THAT IS KIND OF WHAT I THOUGHT.

OTTO

otto #126594 07/26/08 09:08 AM
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 Originally Posted By: otto
BRETTSKI

THAT IS KIND OF WHAT I THOUGHT.

OTTO

Now THAT'S funny. \:D


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I never tire of that story, it brings a tear to my eye every time it's told.


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I agree that the siphon system is great in many ways. I am eager to use this system for my pond that I will build next spring/summer. One question, though... How reliable is the siphon system in northern climates such as my home state of Ohio. I am concerned that the vent pipe could freeze up in the winter and the pond drain all the way down because the vent can't work. I thought about opening up the vent pipe at the tee and then relying on the emergency spillway to control the water elevation but then you run the risk of erosion. Does anybody have any experience or knowledge on this issue.

Thanks

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Minifarmer,
I don't have any information for you about the vent pipe freezing. I would suggest calling Keith at Pond Dam Piping to see if he has any information.

Update on the siphon system. Due to recent strong rains, the pond has risen to within 8 feet of normal pool level. I decided I wanted to test the system out to see if everything is working properly. So me and my son borrowed a transfer pump from the farmer that built my pond and off we went.

This is a 5 hp pump that pumps about 50 gallons per minute or more.


After using some water bottles to float the intake pipe (so that it wouldn't suck up any rocks into the impeller), the pump was primed and the engine started. This is my son who is a great little helper.


This is the backside of the dam that is currently flooded. Man, I wish it were duck season already.


The pipe never filled up all the way with water because once the backslope pipe fills up, the water starts filling up the intake pipe. But because the intake is not shutoff, pressure pushes the water back out into the pond. So after running the pump for 20 minutes, I thought I'd give it a try. I replaced the vent cap and proceeded to open up the butterfly valve on the outlet. At first water came out pretty well, then a big roar of air, then a gusher. It probably shot water about 8 foot into the air. These pictures are from the top of the dam so everything looks small.



I ran it for about one minute, then I had my right-hand man to open the vent valve.


After 10 seconds of loud sucking noise, the water stopped.


My experience has taught me that it is probably better if you had some sort of vacuum pump to suck the air out because the pipe will never fill completely up with water by just pouring it in. Does anyone have a setup with a vacuum pump and some sort of safety valve/filter to prevent water being sucked up into the vacuum pump? If so, I would appreciate information on the vacuum pump (specs) and any pictures you may have of the setup.


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